The Happy Closet, Part 4 (on not buying anything for a year)

So I did it.

I survived an entire year without buying any new clothes, shoes, bags, jewellery or any other accessory item you can think of. I didn’t shop online or offline. I didn’t go thrifting, I didn’t swap any clothes with any friends, I didn’t ask for anything on my birthday. I didn’t even ask to borrow any of my mum’s clothes (she’s a trendy lady, my mum).

A few fun facts and figures:

  • While I didn’t spend much time on Pinterest, I still loved reading the style posts every week by my favourite bloggers like Bri, Miss James, Kendi and Elsie & Emma. There was absolutely no need for me to boycott reading the blogs I love to ‘avoid temptation’. If anything, I enjoyed living somewhat vicariously through others’ amazing creativity (and still do).
  • Even without adding to my closet, I’m quite sure I still only wore about 30%-40% of my wardrobe, and perhaps even only about 15% of my accessories. To me, this simply goes to show that I still have more items than I really need. I do take into consideration, though, that getting pregnant halfway through the year meant that I couldn’t wear a substantial portion of my wardrobe for a few good months.
  • My most worn items of clothing: my jeggings from Urban Outfitters, my black dresses, this jacket, my grey t-shirt, my white t-shirt with a random print (shown here), my (very old) white shirt (shown above), and my yellow maxi dress (again shown here).
  • I adorned my feet with primarily three pairs of shoes: my silver ballet flats and my black ankle boots during the colder months; and my military green sandals during the warmer months (almost all my maternity posts have been ‘styled’ with these sandals). In fact, with the exception of possibly two occasions (including the announcement shoot), I think I’ve worn those same sandals every day for the last 3 months. And the awesome thing is that, my feet have not felt lacking whatsoever. As strange a sentence as that is. Again, this proves to me that I have more shoes than I actually care to wear.

As a reward for my year-long hiatus…

…Rick bought me a beautiful basket bag at Christmas from the local Warriewood markets here in the northern beaches. The basket is roomy, has comfortable handles and was beautifully handmade in Morocco. I’m so pleased with it; it’s the only thing I actually felt I possibly needed last year. I love that it stands upright, and is big enough to fit my normal bag as well as a nappy change kit, sun-hats, and the three water bottles I tote around for the boys.

The biggest reward, however, has been learning contentment.

Truly, it has surprised me how easy it turned out to be, to not spend money on myself. I think I mentioned it here before, but what I found was that the more I didn’t buy, the less desire I had to buy anything. And so it got easier and easier, until it simply became my default mindset.

I’ve loved pulling out old clothes and wearing them. They may not all be perfect, but that’s okay. I can live with that.

For so long in my life, I felt like I was somewhat of a slave to what I saw in magazines, on the television, at the shops, on the internet. It was something I truly struggled with, and even as I handed over my credit card details time and time again, I knew at the back of my mind that what I wanted most of all was not the leather jacket from Sass and Bide or the beautiful handmade bag from Etsy; instead, deep down, I knew what I wanted was simply to free myelf from all that consumerism.

And now, miraculously, through this somewhat accidental experiment of mine, I feel like I’ve accomplished exactly this. Without the desire to acquire new things, I feel liberated. I feel lighter. I feel thankful. I feel happy. I feel content.

So what now?

I still don’t see any need to add to my closet, so the zero spending shall continue. (This goes down nicely with our budget for this year anyway.)

In fact, what i want to do is to trim my wardrobe even further. So over the next month or so, the plan will be to go through my closet with a fine tooth comb and take stock of what I own once more. The goal will be to work out what can be further purged from the closet to make it an even happier one.

Jackets, cardigans, shirts, pants, dresses, scarves, t-shirts, stockings, socks, shorts, jumpers, jewellery, bags, shoes, gloves, belly bands… no rock will be left unturned.

I shall keep you posted, my friends.

You can read all of The Happy Closet posts here.

40 comments

Life with Kaishon January 14, 2013 at 11:58 am

How wonderful. Learning to be content is vital. I did this one year when kaish was a baby so I could send the extra money to a friend who was a missionary in Africa. It was a great thing for me to do also. I learned a lot.

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Pink Ronnie January 14, 2013 at 12:35 pm

What a wonderfully giving thing for you to do Bec!
Ronnie xo

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ee k. January 14, 2013 at 12:02 pm

Wow – you are amazing! Congrats on completing a year without buying anything. I think I would be setting myself up for failure if I tried not to buy anything for a whole year but I am at least inspired to slow it down :)
Congrats again!

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Kirsty January 14, 2013 at 12:04 pm

Well done on your year Ronnie. Enjoy your new bag and most of all enjoy and retain your contentment.

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jody January 14, 2013 at 2:01 pm

That is impressive. And oh so inspirational. Thank you! xo

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jacquelyn |lark&linen January 14, 2013 at 2:21 pm

I am so impressed! Good for you!

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Fiona January 14, 2013 at 2:54 pm

That’s so fantastic! Mostly, it’s just wonderful that you learnt contentment through it. I don’t buy much for myself, but I am far from happy with my closet. Too many clothes I don’t love in there. Thanks for being an inspiration!

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Vicki January 14, 2013 at 3:03 pm

Way to go! My OLW this year is “less”, and I am going to use this post as inspiration. I think I’m going to print your post and hang it up in my closet.

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Pink Ronnie January 14, 2013 at 9:33 pm

‘Less’ was unofficially my OLW last year as well… it really helped me to simply re-focus on the things we already have and to not want more. It shall continue to be a motto of mine…
Ronnie xo

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rooth January 14, 2013 at 3:30 pm

That is pretty darn amazing. I went on a clothing diet for 3 months in 2011 and was pretty proud of myself then. You know, I think I have to learn to make do with what I’ve got as well. I somehow always think that clothes will turn me into a brand new person but that’s never the case

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Pink Ronnie January 14, 2013 at 9:34 pm

I can totally understand – I used to feel the same way. It’s a big part of the struggle.
Ronnie xo

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Chloe Moon January 14, 2013 at 6:27 pm

Wow! Good for you!! I wish I had your willpower!!! =)

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Lou January 14, 2013 at 9:12 pm

Seriously Ronnie, this is SO good. You have really challenged me :)

I feel like I am the complete opposite of your attitude at the moment as in every morning: “I have nothing to wear!” – but I do. I never leave the house naked. Ever! Being pregnant feels like a good excuse to buy a few new things, but really…it comes down to a lack of contentment rather than need.

I’ll be doing a closet purge this week and seeing how much I actually can just stop hanging on to! Baby steps…

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Pink Ronnie January 14, 2013 at 9:35 pm

I know exactly where you’re coming from. I think actually the less items we have, the less likely we are to feel that we have nothing to wear. In fact, imagine a closet simply full of our favourite clothes (ie. the ones we actually end up wearing all the time)!
Ronnie xo

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Linn Maria January 14, 2013 at 9:32 pm

Well done, lady!! I don’t really buy much (perhaps one or two pieces of clothing a month on average – some months nothing, other months more), however, stopping altogether… not sure if I would have the will power. Perhaps I will have to try… You already challenged me to pair down my closet, so maybe this will be my next step, too ;) Either way, well done :)

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Bec Zacher | The Bear Hut January 14, 2013 at 10:25 pm

wow this is so great! A friend did this in the past and i thought i loved it. I feel so conscious lately of what i spend, especially moving house and giving so much away i have realised that i have far more than enough. I might very well give this a shot or just look at purchasing second hand for a year. Some of my favourite pieces and things i have for my children have all been thrifted.

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Bec Zacher | The Bear Hut January 15, 2013 at 12:10 am

you have inspired me to do this challenge for this year ;-) thanks! http://thebearhut.blogspot.com.au/2013/01/nothing-new-for-whole-year-clothing.html

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Leanne January 15, 2013 at 12:34 am

Well done, I think i need to go through my wardrobe & chuck some things out- definitely true that I only consistently wear 50% of what i have in there.

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Claire @ Jemima Longstocking January 15, 2013 at 4:00 am

Well done Ronnie- so inspiring, and yet you still look stylish! They do say you usually only wear 10% of your wardrobe 80% of the time, so it makes sense to cut back on buying clothes you don’t really ‘need’.

Apart from having to buy a new pair of work pants (the seam on the backside of the old pair split because they were so worn- not a good look!!) I might have almost gone the whole year without buying too! x

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Pink Ronnie January 15, 2013 at 10:53 am

Well done to you too, Claire, and thanks so much for stopping by and saying hello!
Ronnie xo

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Jolene January 15, 2013 at 4:02 am

Ronnie, that is amazing. I think I may have just bookmarked this page to serve as a reminder how I may want to do that as well. It’s true, how time and time over again we purchase things that we never really need (Really what goes on in consumer’s decision to purchase is a whole black box) sometimes I can’t understand it myself. I think it’s really okay to wear the same clothes (they’re durable) and it urges us to try wearing some of the clothes we never got a chance to wear :) I think it’s perfect and lovely. I really think it is! Thank you for sharing :)

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jen January 15, 2013 at 6:00 am

well done! such a great inspiration!

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KarynS January 15, 2013 at 9:48 am

Hi Ronnie. I’ve just discovered your blog via your addition to the Project Life Creative Team. I was thrilled to see not only a fellow Aussie on the team (and more than 1!) but also someone from my neck of the woods on the Northern Beaches. Well done you. Looking forward to seeing your 2013 PL album evolve. A good post also – I too spent a year not buying any clothing or accessories and really didn’t miss it all by the end. I have to say though my first spending “spree” was very exciting and far more considered than in the past.

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Pink Ronnie January 15, 2013 at 9:31 pm

Hi Karyn,
It’s awesome ‘meeting’ readers who live around here too! Thanks for your kind words, I’m very excited to be on Becky’s CT this year.
Ronnie xo

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Elisa {With Grace & Eve} January 15, 2013 at 10:57 am

I have put myself on a no fashion/clothes ban for four months (one month in). More as a test other than anything else. Inspired by your posts! xx

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stephanie January 15, 2013 at 11:08 am

what an impressive achievement Ronnie! In packing up our house this past few weeks, have come to the conclusion that we have way too much stuff , and that things are to be used not sitting on the shelf. so really want to be very considered moving forward with what we buy. Not sure i could go without shopping at all, but being thoughtful about it would be a good start!
Steph x

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Latrina January 15, 2013 at 6:57 pm

Wow, I remember when you were first talking about taking on this huge endeavour.. it’s been a year already? So impressive, Ronnie! Truly.

I’m not the shopping-type, I actually kind of hate clothes shopping, lol. But even for me… going a year without buying one piece of clothing or accessory would be tough! I salute you. And I know both your closet & wallet does too! :)

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gaby January 16, 2013 at 7:33 am

i’m so impressed! lately i’ve been wearing about 10% of my wardrobe since that’s all that fits, and the rest has gone into a box in the closet. once i’m not pregnant anymore i plan to go through the boxes and do a big cull. so satisfying!

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Corrine Moseley January 17, 2013 at 6:07 am

That is fantastic, Ronnie! Well done.
I am so inspired by this series. I decided I am going to do “nothing new” too!
2013 is my year for contentment!

My adventure begins here:
http://command-delete.blogspot.com.au/2013/01/nothing-new-for-year.html

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Yin January 19, 2013 at 6:24 am

I’m so inspired, Ronnie! My word for this year us Less, of which a big part has to do with physical possessions. I have not actually considered a drastic commitment like that, but how you say it was not quite intentional, but that it just got easier or just became more natural the longer you went, THAT just clicked for me!! And the idea of concentrating on one area ie Clothes and shoes makes it so much more manageable. I think I might latch on! Just the thought seem exciting, haha! We will see how it goes!
I am so happy to have found your blog!

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Pink Ronnie January 25, 2013 at 11:03 pm

Yes, just try not buying anything for a short period of time and then you’ll most likely find it just gets easier with time… baby steps. :)
So wonderful to have you reading here, Yin.
Ronnie xo

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Do-Hee Kim January 22, 2013 at 1:21 am

Wow – I couldn’t have come across your blog at a better time. I’ve realized I want to simplify my life and you’re on point when you say you want to free yourself from consumerism, that desire to buy new things. So happy to see that you have succeeded in meeting your goal and beyond. Truly inspirational – makes me want to do a happy closet project of my own.

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Pink Ronnie January 25, 2013 at 11:05 pm

Welcome Do-Hee and thanks for stopping by! Thanks for your kind words as well and wishing you all the best with simplifying. It’s so liberating.
Ronnie xo

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vitaminA January 24, 2013 at 6:13 am

Could I be you when I grow up? ;) You are inspiring and a fresh breath of air! I am so impressed that you did this for a whole year. makes me want to do the same!

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Davina January 25, 2013 at 9:52 pm

a friend showed me your website because i decided to do the same challenge for the same reasons this year. great to know that another blogger has been successful in doing so! i am interested to see what this teaches me about my desires and my source of contentment. thanks for sharing your experience! : )

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Pink Ronnie January 25, 2013 at 11:06 pm

Thanks for visiting here, Davina, and I hope it goes well for you too!
Ronnie xo

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Micaela April 9, 2013 at 4:22 pm

SO. Just wanted to write you a quick note to say, THANKSILOVEYOU.
haha I stumbled across your blog on pinterest while looking for baby-book tips (i tend to have tooooo many photos to handle!), and basically your blog/YOU have done or are doing everything that I’m just realizing and getting interested in in life—the shift to motherhood, trying to accept my new bod, trying to accept A LOT of changes that I thought identified who I am, time management, memory keeping, graphic design!, LIVING SIMPLY.

I’m most interested in living simply lately—I want to change my life. I think it’s so important, especially here in the States and with what society thinks life/motherhood should be like, to focus on LIVING and not so much consuming or controlling or recording every. single. detail. I’m a perfectionist/control frrreak by nature, so this has been really hard for me, but I’m excited to pursue it and be able to focus more of myself on being a better wife and mother.

ANYWAYS, just was super excited to see that your blog is beautiful and inspiring and REAL and that it can be done. Thank you, look forward to absorbing some of your info. :)

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Pink Ronnie April 9, 2013 at 11:36 pm

Hi Michaela,
What a lovely message to read first thing in the morning! Thanks for stopping by the blog and taking the time to read along. I’m a bit of a perfectionist and control freak by nature myself (so totally understand where you are coming from) but I’ve found I just have to let go of perfectionism when it comes to memory-keeping, otherwise it’d never get done! Congratulations on your baby and all the best with your graphic design work too (had a peek at your portfolio – it’s lovely!).
Ronnie xo

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I love hearing from you!

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